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Det Frosne Fakkeltog [The Frozen Torchlight Parade]

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Light and Sound Installation
H-C Andersen Year 2005, Odense (DK)
commissioned by the Kingdom of Denmark & The Bikuben Foundation & Odense Bys Kunstfonds
Eventyrhaven and Munke Mose Park

Fluorescent tubes, loudspeakers, electronics
dimensions ca 1.200 m x 200 m

The idea for this light and sound installation in Odense’s inner city park Munke Mose is based on a historical event: on December 6, 1867, the citizens
of Hans Christian Andersen’s home city welcomed him with a big torchlight parade. The celebration
of his 200th birthday concluded with a similar torchlight parade. The light and sound installation extends this torchlight parade in a deep-frozen and thus temporally unlimited form. Fluorescent lamps, which are straight and unmoved, take the place
of burning torches with their flickering lights. These fluorescent lamps, assembled in suitable casings,
are pressed into the ground in Munke Mose Park or in the river and ponds. Since the lamps all stand
at different angles, they produce the seemingly chance image of a snapshot of the torchlight parade in which movement is arrested in motion, its light preserved for the future, and thus, on the one hand, prolonging the citizens’ homage to the poet and,
on the other, concretely preserving the festival’s
concluding parade for a while, like a three-dimensional photo. In the smaller part of the park –
in Eventyrhaven (Fairy-tale garden) – the same lamps are raised, hanging like stripes of light in the trees.
In the Fairy-tale garden, they are set free of gravity, floating overhead like fairy-tale figures from Andersen’s work. When the wind blows, they rock gently in the boughs. Parallel to the lights, a large number of small loudspeakers are set into the ground; they are visible only when one stands directly above them. Short shreds of sound whisk through the park by means of these loudspeakers. They recall Andersen’s fairy-tales and stories, though not concretely. They rouse associations, but at
the same time, their abstraction leaves the listener the freedom of his own imagination.
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